Friday, 7 October 2011

Atrium Buffet: Burswood Entertainment Complex

Atrium on Urbanspoon
Warning: Long Extra long post alert :(

Do buffets make you squeal?
Buffets make me squeal.
Buffets make me squeal with delight so. damn. much. But because there are very few people to whom I feel comfortable squealing in front of, and too many who would cut up my vocal chords if I do, all the squealing happens inside me.

Soo, who doesn't love a buffet right?
I love buffets so freaking much that I dislike it. Really! Because the last 2 times I visited Atrium at Burswood, I suffered for the rest of the day in bed wincing from all the pains of overeating and bloating. Yep, I did it all over again a second time, knowing damn well that it hurts like hell. So I guess an idiot like me, deserves every bit of it.

And I'm not even joking this time, and you'd totally nod in agreement to me if you've gone through it, that those pains are actually pretty damn bad. No joke. Basically I'm saying if you're a fatty like me, you'd by in sync with me :P

I guess those aren't the only culprit reasons that I can blame. Here's a quick overview of my overall adolescent life and health status, if you are interested. If not, go, just kidding :) Feel free to scroll down or leave.


I'm an overall healthy person, blessed with a pretty good health with not many complaints about it. However, ever since primary school, I've been suffering from random stomach pains every so often, maybe twice a month or so. These would be really unbearable and I've cried countless times from it, wishing it would just leave me alone. I've had many a sleepless nights from those attacks, rolling around in bed, or if I'm awake, I'd be walking around curled up as if I was missing a spine down my back. That was how it helped relieved some of the pain, if any at all.

My abdomen would become stiff and hard, much like a chopping board. And even when the pain subsided, it would still be tender and I'd always pray, that that was the last time I'd ever have to go through with it. But every time I pray, I knew that was false hope, and I would just be lying to myself. We'd meet again, maybe in, less than a month. And that's if I got lucky.

So despite this, there was nothing else that stopped me from being an active, jumpy, hyperactive kid like everybody else growing up. But only after going through close to a decade of monthly pain attacks, did I finally find the reason for it. And even then, I was doubtful. After you've been stuck with something for so long, it's grown to be a part of your life, even if it is bad, because you've learnt to just deal with it.
Resilience, they call it. It's a very useful tool to get through life with.

So after numerous tests - blood, endoscopy, x-ray, ultrasounds (yes, many many pregnancy jokes there), CT scanning, you name it - results were always normal. GOOD, you may think. And that is certainly what I think too. But after a while, frustration kicks in. You start to hope they find that bug inside you, whatever it is, so they can hopefully kill it off once and for all and put you out of misery. Why am I hurting then, if my body tells me that there's nothing wrong with me?! Is it lying? Are the results inaccurate? Am I breeding something unpleasant inside me that I'm ignorant to?

I was suspected for Appendicitus at one point when I was overseas, to which I fainted upon hearing. You see, I'm weak physically, but I'm mentally weak as well. Probably even weaker. Most of the time it's my mind that lets me down, because I don't have the guts to believe in myself. But someone once told me, that half the battle is believing you can do it, which is something valuable I'll remind myself whenever I lack the courage.

So in the end, after 10 years or so, they finally found the thing that's been having its fair share of fun in my stomach for so long. I've been carrying half a sack of stones in my gall bladder. My doctors (yes, plural) both showed the same reaction:
"How old are you again?" Just got past my teens, my dear readers.
I guess I should have expected this, with all the junk and rubbish I eat everyday. I mean, I'm sure every kid has swallowed a cup of sand accumulated from all those playground visits anyway. And I've probably swallowed 5 cups, with the ultrasound pictures that showed my organ, abundant with swirly white storm clouds, representing the stones.

It took me ages to decide to finally decide to get surgery and have the whole rockpool inside me removed. One of the major reasons for not doing so was the risk of not being able to eat much fried/oily/fatty foods, which are the very things I live for. I just couldn't say goodbye. Ultimately the decision to preserve my wellbeing was more important, I guess. The decision is obvious, when you are rushed to the Emergency department twice in one week.

I'm still meant to watch what I eat, but I think because I was never taught how to resist temptations, I find myself unable to refrain from watching my intake of anything at all. The brother is always mocking me for my frivolous eating ways - all just self indulgent, carefree, unrestrained and lacking sense altogether. I don't just eat when I'm hungry or til I'm full, I eat when I'm happy, bored, tired, sad, indifferent, emotionless. It's just one of my pastimes.

It doesn't feel much different having my gall bladder stolen from me. I don't feel any more empty inside but I guess it's like, some people don't have a heart, but it just doesn't seem like they feel that because they're oblivious to that, right?! Those cruel, heartless people.
There's also 2 metal clips permanently inside me now, to cut off the flow of something from something to somewhere. LOL. So I'm curious to find out whether I'll beep at a metal detector. I've yet to find out.

I do feel unlucky sometimes, to be so young and to already have surgery. What else awaits me in the future? You can't help but think why me?, especially when you're surrounded by so many other healthy, fit and happy people. Whenever those thoughts taunt me though, they never get anywhere deeper than that. I really do open my eyes at how lucky I am, to ONLY have had this happen to me, something so minor, so insignificant and so...nothing in comparison to every other ugly thing out there. Sure it might seem like something big to me, but those worries are a speck of dust in the wind compared to all the hurricanes out there. And I genuinely mean it, when I say I do feel truly blessed to have only had rock formations inside me.
Cherish your life, folks.


So there you have it, my life. A *short* (yeah, right) excerpt of it anyway. To be honest, I don't know why I just wrote all that. Hmmm.

I think it's cause...I was trying to say, I really shouldn't visit buffets frequently, because I shouldn't overeat, which is something that DEFINITELY happens at my buffet feasts. I used to get pains for random reasons that I've observed: skipping meals, eating too late in the day, overeating, over hungry, even stress can trigger my insides to blast. Simple things like bloating wouldn't just go away, it would turn ugly and turn into pains that lasted the entire day/night.

Nowadays, I'm still experimenting what I can take, which to me, means stuffing my face with everything possible to see what what my stomach will accept/reject and the quantity it can deal with. And at all-you-can-eats is where I really witness my animalistic, insatiable appetite. Can't say no to all the sights, smells, tastes luring you in. That's why I always carry digestive/bloating tablets with me everywhere :)
Eat first, cure later. BAD philosophy.

At the newly renovated Atrium, you get the unmissable temptation to start on desserts first. Alas I did not do this. The following is snapshots of a small portion of what is available, unappealing shots as well, as it is rather hard to capture every dish on offer at a busy buffet. Kinda awkward too with other patrons trying to get their food without needing to consider what to write and what pictures to take for a newbie food blog :P

So I pounced around looking at all the foods available but I still started at my favourite side of the 3? 4? 5? main stations of Atrium, this being the Asian side. I find the most variety here and the dishes go through their rotational phases and change frequently, everytime I've visited. There's the main staples of Asian cuisine that don't budge however. There's always a stirfry of meats/vegies, stirfry green Asian veges, different meat curries, paratha, noodles, fried rice, dim sim. Those guys are always there. Its the foods we thrive on. i.e. we thrive on CARBS.

Asian dishes
I always enjoy discovering what's new. This time I found some very creative looking soba noodles twirled into a little bundle and topped with nori seaweed and sprinkled with those little flakes of "moving" things on takoyaki balls. Cuttlefish? Disappointingly these were unbelievably BLAND and tasteless. See? Looks aren't everything.
Anyway, I thought it looked interesting enough so I made a spot for it smack bang in the middle of my plate. Artwork should deserve its own special place on my plate. Just not in my stomach. MUST FREE UP ROOM FOR MORE FOOD!

Crab claw
Typically the middle section of the buffet comprises of seafood. Always prawns (shelled still, DAMN), sometimes lobster, sometimes oyster (albeit not very fresh sometimes), this time: HUGE MONSTER BRIGHT RED CRABS. Like no joke the size of one claw of these things...damn! The meat tasted fresh and juicy, however you gotta rip into these things and get your hands dirty to eat it. No metal crackers or any other crab eating device provided so it's hard to really eat it. You end up wasting a LOT of meat. Like a LOT! Cause you don't want to like bleed and stuff trying to eat this 8 legged... sea spider :S (I'm arachnophobic, btw)

On one side of this middle section is JAPANESE HEAVEN! Layers and rows of salmon and tuna sashimi...which was pretty much transferred onto my plate (see above) LOL. This is probably the largest mountain of sashimi I've come across. I felt a bit conscious carrying this fish stack back to my table. I felt like a shark... just eating like... a whole raw salmon. Eek. But soo good, you see all the lines of fish fat, mmm. There's like sushi as a few boring salads. Like really, who eats salad at buffets right? Don't do it.

Salmon sashimi #2
And...there's my second round of omega 3 overload...:$. Holy moly, I didn't realise how much I ... damn :S

East/West selection
Here is my East West fusion :) Typically I don't take a huge liking to the "Western" station food choice lol. Their meats are somewhat dry and overcooked and tough and the large sized cuts makes it hard to finish when you want to preserve stomach space for everything else. So I tend to avoid, because I hate wasting food. There's usually steak, cooked-when-ordered pasta, fish of some kind, roast vegetables, seafood pie (sounds great, taste...not so great), the usual suspects. Also very lonely carvery meats sitting there purely for looks. Not carved when you want it, so the meat is a bit dry. Also the usual cold cut meats, smoked meats, smoked salmons, you know it.

On this occasion, and on my plate, clockwise, the yellow steamed custard bun, siu mai (which I suspect all dimsims are store bought, but still taste good...), peri peri chicken, steamed salmon, cauliflower cheese, caesar salad (wow, I took salad...?! :S), fish in the middle and a little tied package of glutinous rice wrapped in banana leaf. As for the caesar salad, it's weird. There's a bowl of pre-made caesar salad, and right next door, there's undressed cos lettuce leaves and a bowl of caesar sauce. For those too good for premade and wanna DIY.

Nearly forgot to mention the DIY peking duck pancakes too. All the stuff you need, just needa DIY. Me? Too lazy. So I don't eat it. Some foodie I am. Effort=don't bother :P I don't think there's anything schmancy about it anyway. Definitely not the quality of real peking duck, where the skin is like epic. You also got the usual BBQ pork and chicken too.

Pumpkin Soup
Around the back area is a little overlooked soup station. I think this is underrated. I think everyone's missing outtt! It's like finding a little pot of gold, 2 pots in fact, cause there's 2 soups on offer. This time round there was pumpkin soup and Tom Yum soup. Ohh gawwwwwdd that pumpkin soup. That heavenly smooth velvety creamy pumpkin soup. The Coffee Prince had a spasm over this and I thought that was just weird but damn, I had my own spasm. I GET WHAT YOU MEAN NOW DUDE!

And for kicks, I decided to be a cheese lover for today. Sampled all the cheeses available, and from terrible memory they were Cheddar, Blue and Brie cheeses. Basic stuff butI had to google that. I can so marry Google. So you can tell I'm a bit noob at my cheeses. I shouldn't have too much fatty stuff in case my body throws it back up anyway.

Blue cheese always freaks me out with its alien blue/green veiny moulds. It's offputting to realise we're eating bacteria. Humans so weird eh. We don't eat perfectly good cheese but we eat fermented, mouldy, gone-off crap. Crap that stinks too. I gotta say Brie cheese all the freaking way.

Now, HELLOOO dessert! There's a whole BAR dedicated to desserts, chock full of delicate cups, slices, cakes, muffins, waffles, toppings, marshmallows, fruits, biscuits, crumbles, chocolate, epic flowing cascade of 3 TIERED CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN, can't name everything. Unfortunately I was too close to closing time and the desserts were CLEARED when I got round to it. Only got what you can see there. Sigh. But to be honest, by the time you move to desserts, you're just forcing it all in.

Strawberry Ice Cream
So, I made use of the ice cream bar. Like, REALLY use it. Like ABUSED it. I'm addicted to their Strawberry flavour. Usually I'm not a fan of conventional flavours but there's something about this that has me hooked. And when they're not lazy, there's an ice cream chef that bashes your ice cream with mixed in goodies (lollies/nuts/chocolates/jellies) on a slab of ice cold cement, cold rock style. I think I went up 3 times for that. You feel really guilty afterwards. Sigh. They should put a limit on that thing.

Because I got my fat ass up and got another scoop of ice cream, this time with colourful additions that added more crunch to my creamy mocha ice cream. Pecans and pistachios certainly made the ice cream more fun to eat. The nuts were all still whole, so I guess it wasn't bashing. More of just...mashing. By this time, I wanted to bash my head in for eating so much :(


This place is usually PACKED at dinner. Lunch is usually quiet from the times I've been there but this time was also PACKED. Presumably because there is 30% off for Club Burswood members. Free = good. But that won't happen so discount = good also.

It was hard trying to book a table while trying to maximise your eating time. It was weird though, they try to space every booking out so that there's not a rush of people and enough food around to cater for everyone. So we were scheduled for 1.15pm but got told to come earlier (even 12.30pm) and they might be able to seat us. But got told that our table had already been set and was ready when I made the booking at 12! So confused!

Food is replenished quickly (as it should) and plates are cleared quickly (sometimes). But like so many comments on urbanspoon, the quantity is definitely there but the quality can be questioned. But you know, Burswood is damn big and it doesn't need to give a crap. Refurbishment was just like, oh I dunno, $11 million or something. Got money to splash.

$30 for this was definitely worth it. This type of value makes me lose control and I go on a rampage of some sort of obsessive compulsive eating disorder. People say I'm like a bottomless pit in these situations. It's amazing.

I love the concept of "all you can eat". Cause that really means something to me and I take full advantage of it. Sometimes looking at what other people eat it's sorta like that's all you can eat?
By all means go all out but just make sure you don't eat the rest of the day... or maybe even the rest of the week. :(


  1. Pumpkin soup!!!
    Dude, your "caesar salad" is just a leaf. LOLOL
    and SO MUCH SASHIMI! thought it was the serving plate at the station... Then I realised it was your plate!
    The crab wasn't fresh when I went. The meat was all mushy and gross.. but the plus side was the roast was so juicy and diviiiine =D

  2. gotta love the Atrium :)

  3. Wow, you eat way too much. Go easy! Haven't visited the Atrium for years and was impressed by the range but it lacks consistency in quality across the dishes. I think their strength is Asian as that was the best. The other dishes were OK. Liked the ice cream and strawberry in particular. Excellent value for money.

    1. Hi Shaun,
      Atrium has had quite the makeover hasn't it! The Asian food station does bring up the overall quality of Atrium, without it I would be quite disappointed given the price paid.
      And YES! There really is something special about the strawberry flavour. Wonder what it is...


So what did you eat today?

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